North Union Falls is a hidden, but not really hidden gem of a waterfall on the east side of Chinook Pass. Union Creek Falls, just under 1 1/2 miles downstream, is a popular destination for both waterfall hunters and those looking for a leisurely stroll, and while it is a more impressive waterfall than the falls of the North Fork, it doesn't edge it out by much. Approaching North Union Falls one can see the bottom two tiers spitting out into a pool through the trees below the trail. As the trail nears the creek, it bends and crosses immediately at the brink of the lower tiers, but only once the bridge is being traversed is the larger upper tier, a gorgeous wide plunge of 35 feet, visible upstream in a narrow grotto. The creek bends and twists in such a way that its impossible to see the lower and upper tiers congruently, but this also allows one to get more intimate with each section. I suspect there might be a fourth tier above the 35 footer, which I will investigate further on my next visit.
- North Union Falls is the name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: North Fork Union Creek Falls
North Union Falls is accessed from the Union Creek Trail east of Chinook Pass along the Mather Memorial Parkway (Highway 410). The trailhead is located 7 1/2 miles east of Chinook Pass and the falls can be found approximately 2 miles in from the trailhead. To view the lower tiers clearly, proceed about 200 feet past the bridge and drop down the steep slopes adjacent to the falls (staying in the wooded areas).
Located near Chinook Pass, off Highway 410, east of Mount Rainier National Park. On Highway 410, proceed 7 1/2 miles east of Chinook Pass, to the marked Union Creek trailhead. Park and walk about 1/4 mile along the trail. After crossing the creek on a bridge, the trail switches back, and climbs shortly. As the falls come in to view through the trees, an unmarked spur trail drops to the base of the falls. Two more switchbacks up the trail, a second spur drops down to the bottom of the upper tier of the falls, where the best views can be had. Do not try to get to the falls by wading up the creek from the bridge, you can't get at it from there, and would just get wet.